Man shoves snakes down pants in alleged Mesa robbery

Posted: Updated:

MESA, Ariz. – A Mesa man is accused of stealing five rare albino boa snakes from a local pet shop by stuffing them into his pants and casually walking out of the store.

Eric Fiegel, 22, was arrested earlier this week and charged with theft and trafficking in stolen property.

Surveillance video shows him opening cages inside of Predator’s Reptile Center and stuffing the baby snakes into his pants pockets on two occasions.

“This is very unusual. In my 15 years, I’ve never heard of this ‘snake in the pants’ kind of theft, if you will,” said Mesa Police Sgt. Ed Wessing.

The snakes are valued at around $800 each.

“It's hard enough to make it in business these days without someone stealing thousands of dollars worth of our stock,” said store owner Christian Kaleta.

Kaleta says when he viewed the surveillance tape he recognized Fiegel as a customer who regularly browsed the store.

He called nearby pet stores and learned that a man matching Fiegel’s description had come in and sold several of the snakes in exchange for store credit and other merchandise.

Police later learned he had allegedly sold the other snakes to a friend.

Fiegel, who is unemployed according to court paperwork, is now charged with theft and trafficking in stolen goods.

Kaleta says it is the third theft of expensive animals from his store in recent months.